Get right to the good part, #4. You know what must be done!
asfhdgjlhfjdagfhd that meme wasn’t even on this blog
imma do it anyway though B|
this got way longer than I intended and also sort of sad (IT GETS BETTER I PROMISE) because apparently I can’t help myself
‘Right to the Good Parts’ Meme || 4. We slept in the same bed for space reasons but now we’re just waking up and there’s something about your bleary eyes and mussed hair
— || ♜♛
Adolin woke to an unfamiliar warmth in his arms.
The fingertips of one hand prickled with encroaching numbness, but he dared not shift, not when Shallan rested against his bicep like a pillow, her forehead tucked up against his chest. A glance down showed only a shock of bright red hair, tousled and messy from sleep, and a slim, silk-covered shoulder that rose and fell with her slow, even breathing. His other forearm lay over her waist, lax hand very nearly brushing the small of her back. Her own hands were pinned between them, held comfortably against her chest, the curl of her knuckles pressing into his belly through the thin sleep-shirt.
Neither was gloved. He didn’t need to see that to feel it.
Adolin swallowed, his mouth dry. There was only one bed – a decent size for one person alone, but very… intimate for two – and she’d refused to take it when he’d started to lie down on the floor. She’d even climbed down and started dragging the covers off with her as soon as he started to refuse. Bit her lip, raised her chin, and did it; I should have insisted further, stood my ground, but… Almighty, I was weak.
Slowly, carefully, his hand drifted upwards, hovering a hairsbreadth over her shift and following the curve of her back – as if he could memorize the shape and feel of her, even without touch. The very ends of his fingertips trailed through her hair and up to her shoulder, tracing through the air above it. He lingered there a moment, the size of his hand in stark juxtaposition with the gentle slope of her shoulder. The desire to protect her – this small, porcelain-pale woman who was so much stronger than he’d first realized – flared like a waking ember in his heart. Not for the first time, he quashed it. She didn’t want that. And now, with his exile, it wouldn’t matter even if she did.
Upwards. At this angle, her face was hidden, but he could see the side of her cheek, half-obscured by the haphazard, mussed fall of red. As delicately as he could, Adolin brushed her hair out of the way.
It was too much, or just enough. Shallan stirred against him, her knee bumping into his leg and her hands slowly, unconsciously stretching away the night’s stiffness before she lifted her sleep-hazed gaze to his. A blink, what might have been a smile, and Shallan made a lazy noise of complaint and snuggled right back against him.
Adolin stifled a laugh, though his answering smile was soft and apologetic. “Sorry I woke you.” His fingertips stroked through her hair, making little paths from her forehead all the way over and down to the nape of her neck. If this was to be the first and last time he ever held Shallan like this, then he’d indulge as much as he could.
“I’m not,” came her reply, slightly muffled against his chest. Shallan breathed in, hands curling in his shirt, and looked back up at him. “Even if it is too early.”
This time he did laugh, a low, soft bark of a chuckle, as she yawned widely. “That’s right; you never were a morning person.” She said nothing of him caressing her hair, and so he did not stop. The silky tresses parted like water around his fingers.
“No. And late nights gathering information don’t exactly help.” Her gaze shifted, slipping away from his and back, not quite avoidant but not steady either. The tip of her tongue peeked out to wet her lips. “…but I’ve managed to get up early on some days, recently.”
He hummed, smiling, but it was tinged with sadness. “War business?”
It shouldn’t be this way. Broken Radiant or not, your hands were not made for war – you should be charting out the wilds, finding new plants and cataloging the habits of some intriguing creature that caught your eye, or continuing your research with Jasnah, doing things that make you happy-
“I see you in the sunrise.”
Adolin’s breath faltered in his chest.
Shallan reached up, nudging his hand where it had frozen in midair. With her bare safehand. “Don’t stop. It’s… it’s nice.”
Words refused to form. His lips parted to speak but his mind was a jumble, uncomprehending. Or rather, knowing - but in too much shock to process. His hand moved again, but this time to cup her cheek, fingertips disappearing into her hair. “Shallan,” was all he managed, a singular, incredulous exhale of disbelief.
She laid her safehand over his, and his heart nearly stopped.
“You speak like a wife, parted and waiting.” His turn to wet dry lips, now. “After everything that happened. After what I did.”
“What if I want to be?” There was a tremble in her voice and in her hand - her safehand, bare, a measure of trust and comfort unparalleled - but her eyes were steady as steel. “Unless the world ends, this Desolation won’t last forever.”
“I’m not- Shallan, I’m exiled. No home, no name, no family-” Adolin choked on the knot of emotion that rose with saying the words, the pain of it all searing like a white-hot lance. “Our betrothal was nullified. I don’t even know how you found me-”
“That is my choice to make. And yours. No other.” Her grip tightened, fingers curling around his. “I’m not going to give up on this. I’m not going to give up you.”
His voice was barely a whisper. “You should.”
She bit her lip, shook her head. “Never.”
“And if I told you that I wanted to break it? I thought this- the betrothal ended, so what if I wanted to keep it that way?”
“Then you’d be a liar. And you’re a terrible liar, Adolin.”
He couldn’t help it: he laughed. Mirthless and with a faint glint of tears, he laughed, leaning down and bowing his head to rest his forehead against hers, eyes closed. “Yeah. That’s been pretty well proven, hasn’t it?”
“Yes.” He felt her hand leave his, only for soft fingertips - one side noticeably more calloused than the other - to trail up his face, moving gently from his jaw to his cheekbones to the corners of his eyes. “Since the first time you took me on a date, and answered a silly question with far too much honesty for your own dignity.”
Adolin blinked his eyes open in surprise, snorted, and shoved her shoulder with just enough strength to roll her onto her back. “You bring that up now?” But her ploy had worked. She was smiling, and… so was he.
“It’ll make for a good story one day.” Shallan tilted her head, the angle almost smug, and there was a twinkle in her eye as she said it that worried him.
Adolin sat up for a moment, shaking the pins and needles from the arm she’d slept on all night. Then he rolled the rest of the way to loom over Shallan, hands braced on either side of her as she looked up at him with that smile, hair fanned bright over the thin pillow. “That sounds like you plan on actually telling someone.”
“Maybe someone or ones in particular.” Shallan’s mischievous smile widened, and she reached up to tangle her fingers in black and gold. “Our children will have the strangest hair.”
His kiss pressed her back into the bed.